For many of us the festive season brings with it uncomfortable memories. For me, guilt and regret are the primary feelings I associate with the time. Regret that I don’t have healthy family relationships and guilt that I didn’t do more to make them work.
This process usually ends in a detailed examination of my motivations both past and present. Hindsight can be a wonderful gift, especially with the wisdom of years. It’s easy to look back and see ways of doing things better. I can think of all kinds of reasons for my poor family relationships, and, of course it is all my fault. I recriminate myself for not doing more at the time or saying something differently, with more compassion and understanding.
But I cannot expect myself to have known what I know now. At the time my behaviour seemed reasonable to me. I am now a completely different person to who I was when living with my family. It makes no sense to process the past in this way.
Wisdom tells me that judging my past behaviour is fruitless. I am not the same person. Time and personal growth have changed the way I view my world.
That’s the problem with ruminating on the past. Our lives change over time and the people and places we once knew change, too. There can be no fixing of what was done. The only answer is to live in the moment and accept what has gone, facing the future motivated by love.